Missouri University of Science and Technology Nuclear Reactor

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Operating Institution Missouri University of Science and Technology
Location Rolla, Missouri
Coordinates 37°57′16″N 91°46′21″W / 37.95454°N 91.77248°W / 37.95454; -91.77248Coordinates: 37°57′16″N 91°46′21″W / 37.95454°N 91.77248°W / 37.95454; -91.77248
Type Pool
Power 200 kW (Thermal)
First Criticality 1961
Technical Specifications
Fuel Type plate type (19x)
9-18 per assembly
Cooling Light water
Neutron Moderator Light water
Control Rods boron & stainless steel (4x)
Source(s): [1]

The Missouri University of Science and Technology Nuclear Reactor (MSTR or Missouri S&TR) is a pool-type nuclear reactor operated by the Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T). It first achieved criticality in 1961, making it the first operational nuclear reactor in the state of Missouri.[2] Missouri S&T operates this reactor for training, education, and research purposes.

Reactor statistics[edit]

The below summary is from the 2016–2017 Annual Progress Report submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission:

During the 2016–2017 reporting period, the Missouri University of Science and Technology Reactor (MSTR) was in use for 285.42 hours. The major part of this time, about 90%, was used for class instruction, research, and training purposes. The MSTR operated safely and efficiently over the past year. No significant safety related incidents or personnel exposures occurred. The reactor facility supported several Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) courses and operator training over the year for more than 5,800 student-hours. More than 2,600 visitors visited the reactor during the past year. More than 535 participants, mostly high school students, were in the U.S. Department of Energy Reactor Sharing Program. The reactor produced 8,791.63 kilowatt-hours of thermal energy using approximately 0.556 grams of uranium. A total of 214 samples were neutron irradiated in the reactor with the majority being analyzed in the reactor counting laboratory.[3]


The reactor core is situated inside a standing pool of high-purity light water on a grid plate suspended from a movable rail bridge. The pool holds 32 thousand US gallons (120 m3) of this water in a concrete casing that is 19 by 9 feet (5.8 m × 2.7 m) at the base with a depth of 27 to 30 feet (8.2 to 9.1 m). The approximately 19 fuel elements contain between 9 and 18 low-enriched uranium fuel plates. The reactor has a maximum power output of 200 kilowatts. The power produced is all thermal energy, and none of it is used to make electricity.[1]

The reactor uses a total of four control rods. Three of these control rods are used for coarse power control and emergency SCRAM shutdowns and utilize a combination of stainless steel and boron. The other control rod is used for fine power control and simply uses stainless steel.[1]

The building houses several experimental facilities. These facilities are used for research and for classroom lab activities. A thermal column, consisting of a 3.5×3.5×5 feet (1.1×1.1×1.5 m) block of graphite, provides a source of slow neutrons. A 6 inches (150 mm) diameter aluminum tube, called a beam port, can be positioned between the reactor core and an experimental area in the ground floor of the reactor building, allowing irradiation of a sample with higher energy neutrons. Other facilities, called rabbits, are used to pneumatically inject a sample directly into the core of the reactor for a specified amount of time. One of the rabbit facilities is lined with cadmium in order to stop low-energy neutrons while allowing bombardment of the sample with high-energy neutrons.

Noteworthy events[edit]

In June 2017, a suspicious package was found near the reactor that caused the evacuation of four Missouri University of Science and Technology campus buildings. The package was tested and analyzed by University Police and Fort Leonard Wood military specialists, but the package was determined as not dangerous.[4]


Funded by the DOE, a "dual-chambered internet-accessible heavily shielded facility with pneumatic access to the University of Missouri Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) 200 kW Research Nuclear Reactor (MSTR) core has been built and is currently available for irradiation and analysis of samples. The facility allows authorized distance users engaged in collaborative activities with Missouri S&T to remotely manipulate and analyze neutron irradiated samples".[5]

In October 2012, Westinghouse Electric Corporation signed a multi-year research and collaboration agreement with Missouri S&T to utilize MSTR and "support the development of multiple cutting-edge research projects at the institutions that will benefit the Westinghouse Small Modular Reactor (SMR) project and the nuclear energy industry as a whole".[6]

Researchers at Missouri S&T have conducted research with MSTR to study nuclear fuel pebbles for future use in generation IV reactors.[7]


Missouri S&T's nuclear engineering department is involved in outreach programs to rising high school juniors, seniors, and college freshmen, such as its summertime Nuclear Engineering Camp. The camp involves tours of the Missouri S&T reactor, as well as several focused areas of study and lab experiments related to nuclear engineering.[8]


  1. ^ a b c "Missouri S&T Nuclear Reactor". Nuclear Engineering. Missouri University of Science and Technology. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  2. ^ "General Facts and Information About Missouri S&TR". Nuclear Reactor. Missouri University of Science and Technology. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  3. ^ Bonzer, William (June 1, 2017). "Progress Report 2016–2017 Missouri University of Science and Technology Reactor". Missouri University of Science and Technology. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  4. ^ Staff Writer (June 17, 2017). "Package Found Near Missouri S&T Reactor Not Dangerous". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  5. ^ Grant, Edwin; Mueller, Gary; Castaño, Carlos; Usman, Shoaib; Kumar, Arvind (August 2011). "Internet Accessible Hot Cell with Gamma Spectroscopy at the Missouri S&T Nuclear Reactor". Nuclear Engineering and Design. 241 (8): 3306–3316. Retrieved December 24, 2017.
  6. ^ Hackbarth, Paul (October 26, 2012). "Westinghouse, universities sign agreement for reactors". The Rolla Daily News. Retrieved December 8, 2017.
  7. ^ Staff Writer (April 17, 2013). "Missouri S&T Scientists Work To Shape 'Fourth Generation' Nuclear Reactors". St. Louis Public Radio. Retrieved December 8, 2017.
  8. ^ "Nuclear Engineering Camp". Summer Camps. Missouri University of Science and Technology. Retrieved December 17, 2017.